“We are at the Awana Kijal Golf, Beach & Spa Resort, a nine-story monster of a building, which conveniently has an ice cold conference room with no windows, just like all the others in thousands of hotels around the world. Kill the lights and fire up the PowerPoint. You could be in New Jersey. There has got to be another way . . .” (Mark Spalding of The Ocean Foundation)
Indeed there is. There was absolutely no mistaking the 2008 ISTS in Loreto, Mexico for New Jersey or Cabo San Lucas for that matter. From top to bottom, most everything about this year’s ISTS was rethought, reinvented or renewed in some way…except for the sea turtle biology and conservation theme itself and the special camaraderie of our members.
There’s no way to take on such as task without a committed, clever and hard working team, and we had just that in Journey Mexico, our program committee and and our tireless corps of local and international volunteers. The community of Loreto in its entirety rolled up its sleeves, opened their homes, painted the town for us (literally) and demonstrated the best of the combination of hospitality and charm Loreto is known for. Add to that strong support from our sponsors—some familiar and some brand new. Plus the spirit of adventure of our members: you who attended, walked in the rain, tested the organic tequila and helped turn Loreto into Turtle Town for a week. We thank each of you for helping to make this meeting—more than a meeting, a gathering, really—the great success that it was. The organizing team has jokingly discussed writing a book called Extreme Adventure Conferencing. I think we are on to something.
Elena Finkbeiner merits her own section in the President’s Report for her tireless work on every aspect of the 28th ISTS in the years preceding it, on site and afterwards. Looking back on past ISTS reports it’s clear that this unofficial “vice president” role is nothing new and always critical to the meeting’s success.
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